WINNIPEG — A new formation course for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is being introduced at Winnipeg’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, with Level 1 being offered on 10 Saturdays from September to June.
Formation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd involves 90 hours at each of three levels (3 - 6 year olds, 6 - 9 year olds, and 9 - 12 year olds). The Level I course is the foundation for all three levels and until now has been offered over a series of weekends spanning two years. The new program will allow participants to complete Level 1 in one year.
It will include lectures, prayer reflections, lesson presentations, and hands-on work with materials. The long, slow formation allows the adult to internalize the presentations and make them their own. Above all, it helps them to listen and to learn with children.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been growing in Winnipeg and across Canada. Developed in Rome over the past 55 years by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator, the work has spread around the world.
In Winnipeg it began 20 years ago at Holy Cross Parish and is now taking place in seven Catholic and four Anglican churches. Other parishes, schools, and homeschoolers have adapted it for use with traditional curricula, especially in sacramental preparation.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been described as the meeting of two mysteries: the mystery of God and the mystery of the child. Children seem to have a relationship with God even before we try to “teach” them anything. They have a special attraction to prayer, holy things, ritual, silence and beauty. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd provides the environment where they can experience these things.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd uses carefully chosen themes from the Bible and liturgy to present to the children. After hearing a presentation (the parable of the mustard seed, for example) children are free to move quietly around the room working with any material they want. This provides a time for a personal encounter between the child and God.
For more information, see www.archwinnipeg.ca, or email Maureen Fernandes at firstname.lastname@example.org.